Archive for October 12th, 2011
One unhappy consequence of the U.S. Department of Justice’s breath-taking series of screw-ups in the “Polar PEN” probe of corruption in Alaska’s state government seems to have been its abject abandonment of further prosecutions; it can barely muster the energy to re-try a couple of its earlier cases.
So thinking voters are left to wonder about all of the other state legislators who took VECO’s money and licked VECO’s boots. Elected representatives who sucked the sugar tit. According to Ray Metcalfe, admittedly not the most reliable source in Alaska, writing in the Juneau Empire, as of 2007 there were twelve legislators who had escaped criminal indictment but had pocketed VECO’s money.
The following 12 legislators all have four things in common: 1) Every one of them has taken more than $10,000 from VECO; 2) When VECO owner Bill Allen asked to be relieved of his requirement to register as a lobbyist, they crafted and passed legislation ending Allen’s requirement to register; 3) When presented with hundreds of pages of evidence of VECO’s bribery, each of them refused to respond; 4) When asked to admit or deny under oath whether or not they had taken advantage of the illegal polling, services that VECO Vice President Rick Smith admitted having provided to more than 100 of the company’s favored candidates, every one of the still seated legislators below refused comment.
WC has moved Metcalfe’s twelve legislators into a table for easy reference, with some notes on subsequent developments.
|Legislator, Party and District||VECO Contribution||Status|
|Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski||$32,000||Current Speaker of the Stte House|
|Rep. Ralph Samuels, R-Anchorage||$10,250||No longer in Legislature|
|Rep. Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage||$21,350||Current member State House|
|Sen. Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage||$17,550||Chair, Senate Judiciary Committee|
|Sen. Lyda Green, R-Wasilla||$18,000||Retired|
|Rep. Kevin Meyer, R-Anchorage||$23,350||Now member State Senate|
|Sen. John Cowdery, R-Anchorage||$45,200||No longer in Legislature|
|Sen. Con Bunde, R-Anchorage||$18,650||No longer in Legislature|
|Rep. John Coghill, R-North Pole||$10,480||Now member State Senate|
|Rep. Richard Foster, D-Nome||$16,750||Deceased|
|Sen. Fred Dyson, R-Eagle River||$21,700||Now member State Senate|
|Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak||$14,275||State Senate Majority Leader|
Plainly, the sugar tit – even $40,000 in contributions – isn’t fatal. It’s gilt by association, not guilt by association.
WC finds all that more than a little outrageous. But WC is at least slightly mollified that none of these dubious characters are from his House and Senate districts.
But perhaps it’s more a matter of what Christopher Marlowe wrote in The Jew of Malta, the source for Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice:
Thou hast committed fornication. But that was in another country. And besides, the wench is dead.
The past is another country. And VECO is dead. But still…